offshore fund
David Cameron admits he had a stake in his father's offshore investment fund
David Cameron has admitted he did have a profitable stake in his father’s offshore investment fund, five days after the leak of the Panama Papers. After the release of the Panama Papers, Mr Cameron and Downing Street staffers released four different statements about his financial affairs – though, despite the clarifications, questions remained. In an interview with ITV News, the Prime Minister said: "We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010. That was worth something like £30,000.

Cameron needs to resign and resign now.

He has been caught in a lie and he needs to accept the consequences of that.

A lie of omission is still a lie. He has been asked repeatedly for the last five days if he has benefited from his father’s offshore tax avoiding fund, he has avoided answering that question truthfully for five days, and now it’s revealed that he himself was a direct investor in the fund.

Resign, Mr Cameron, you are a hypocrite and a liar and unfit to hold office.

America’s economic problems go far beyond rich bankers, too-big-to-fail financial institutions, hedge-fund billionaires, offshore tax avoidance or any particular outrage of the moment. In fact, each of these is symptomatic of a more nefarious condition that threatens, in equal measure, the very well-off and the very poor, the red and the blue. The U.S. system of market capitalism itself is broken.


America’s economic illness has a name: financialization. It’s an academic term for the trend by which Wall Street and its methods have come to reign supreme in America, permeating not just the financial industry but also much of American business. It includes everything from the growth in size and scope of finance and financial activity in the economy; to the rise of debt-fueled speculation over productive lending; to the ascendancy of shareholder value as the sole model for corporate governance; to the proliferation of risky, selfish thinking in both the private and public sectors; to the increasing political power of financiers and the CEOs they enrich; to the way in which a “markets know best” ideology remains the status quo. Financialization is a big, unfriendly word with broad, disconcerting implications.


The changes were driven by the fact that in the 1970s, the growth that America had enjoyed following World War II began to slow. Rather than make tough decisions about how to bolster it (which would inevitably mean choosing among various interest groups), politicians decided to pass that responsibility to the financial markets. Little by little, the Depression-era regulation that had served America so well was rolled back, and finance grew to become the dominant force that it is today. The shifts were bipartisan, and to be fair they often seemed like good ideas at the time; but they also came with unintended consequences.


This sickness, not so much the product of venal interests as of a complex and long-term web of changes in government and private industry, now manifests itself in myriad ways: a housing market that is bifurcated and dependent on government life support, a retirement system that has left millions insecure in their old age, a tax code that favors debt over equity. Debt is the lifeblood of finance; with the rise of the securities-and-trading portion of the industry came a rise in debt of all kinds, public and private. That’s bad news, since a wide range of academic research shows that rising debt and credit levels stoke financial instability. And yet, as finance has captured a greater and greater piece of the national pie, it has, perversely, all but ensured that debt is indispensable to maintaining any growth at all in an advanced economy like the U.S., where 70% of output is consumer spending. Debt-fueled finance has become a saccharine substitute for the real thing, an addiction that just gets worse. (The amount of credit offered to American consumers has doubled in real dollars since the 1980s, as have the fees they pay to their banks.)


Remooring finance in the real economy isn’t as simple as splitting up the biggest banks (although that would be a good start). It’s about dismantling the hold of financial-oriented thinking in every corner of corporate America. It’s about reforming business education, which is still permeated with academics who resist challenges to the gospel of efficient markets in the same way that medieval clergy dismissed scientific evidence that might challenge the existence of God. It’s about changing a tax system that treats one-year investment gains the same as longer-term ones, and induces financial institutions to push overconsumption and speculation rather than healthy lending to small businesses and job creators. It’s about rethinking retirement, crafting smarter housing policy and restraining a money culture filled with lobbyists who violate America’s essential economic principles.

It’s also about starting a bigger conversation about all this, with a broader group of stakeholders. The structure of American capital markets and whether or not they are serving business is a topic that has traditionally been the sole domain of “experts”—the financiers and policymakers who often have a self-interested perspective to push, and who do so in complicated language that keeps outsiders out of the debate. When it comes to finance, as with so many issues in a democratic society, complexity breeds exclusion.


Rana Foroohar, American Capitalism’s Great Crisis

It will take an actual revolution – the Human Spring – to straighten out the financialization of the world.

There is a lot striking me as very wrong about Channel 4’s Benefits Street; less a fly-on-the-wall documentary, more an unabashed exploitation of the poor in Britain.

First of all, there’s the choice of name for the program: Benefits Street. Consider for a second that this program was meant to give a “sympathetic, human, and objective” portrayal of people living on state benefits under austerity. Now consider the number of other names they could have given the program that don’t rhyme with ‘benefits cheat.’ Whether this is a deliberate decision by the producers or not is up for speculation, but there’s no denying that the naming of the show already leads viewers into a subconscious judgement of those within. Not only are there implications of the ‘benefits cheat,’ but the idea of a whole street on benefits paints the impression that abuse of the state benefit system and ‘benefit scroungers’ are rife in the UK (spoiler: it isn’t and they’re not).

Secondly (and I’m allowed to say this, coming from Wolverhampton), there’s the location. They chose a street in Birmingham, and while the West Midlands – particularly the Black Country – does have a high rate of unemployment, there is an underlying cultural subtext to this. The second city and its surrounding area enjoys the reputation of having the worst accent in the UK. Without getting into regional nuances between Yam Yam (Wolverhampton), Brummie (Birmingham), and so on; the ‘Black Country’ accent is, admittedly, a bit of an up-down lilt, with something of a drawl about it. In British pop-culture, it’s synonymous with not only the working class, but the dim-witted, the under-educated, and generally the butt of many jokes. Along with the title, already the country will form an ill-opinion of those featured as soon as they open their mouths.

Not that it really matters what they say, since the show was, according to those involved, heavily edited and manipulated in order to completely misrepresent the people they featured. The information provided to those living on the street said the show was about the community spirit in the street despite austerity and circumstances. According to Dee Roberts, who is featured on the program, “they lied to us from the very beginning. We opened our doors and hearts to them and they violated us and abused our trust.” In terms of editing, they filmed a sequence where Dee walks down the street and points out the houses of those who were unemployed or on benefits, however, before the edit, it was shown that she walked down the street talking about those who were and weren’t employed, and the sequence, to Dee, was meant to be positive. The production company also broadcast private phonecalls and ignored residents’ requests to not film certain aspects of their lives.

Channel 4 has betrayed the trust of a whole community, threatening to tear it apart, and placed a group of people at the mercy of a public who will see them with intense vitriol and judgement.

You only need to glance at Twitter during and after the show to see what their ‘fair and balanced’ portrayal has done with regards to the public opinion of those on benefits.

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This is what happens when you lie to people, then stereotype and demonise them in front of a few million viewers. This is now how the public views Britain’s 2.49 million unemployed people. This is Channel 4 inciting class warfare. West Midlands police had to issue a statement due to the amount of calls flooding them to arrest the people featured, and yet have remained silent on the death threats these people are receiving. Nothing about this program is okay. The perpetuation of stereotypes that justify the hatred of those in economic disparity, unemployed, or unable to work is unforgivable – and dangerous.

People who are unemployed are already in a dangerous place. 1 in 10 British unemployed people under 21 feel like they have nothing to live for, 1 in 3 have contemplated suicide, and 1 in 4 self-harm. The ‘expert help’ the Job Centre provides is a joke. Add to that the government scheme to make people work in actual job roles to keep their benefits under the banner of 'experience and we have a fundamentally flawed and morally wrong system that is failing citizens. If they’re working, they should get paid a wage, not to keep state support which is meant to be there while they’re not working.
The online jobmatch program is flawed and rife with scams, fraud, and outright false adverts for jobs. You are matched to arbitrary jobs with no consideration for any qualifications you may or may not have, and not given any consideration as an individual with any skills that are unique to you - or at least geared in a certain direction. I wasn’t there long enough, thankfully, but there are courses you are sent on, which may be inconvenient to get to, have no relation to anything you want to do, etc. and the cost for being late is a benefit sanction.  A lot of people claiming benefits and attending Job Centre appointments are people out of work - who had jobs with skills, graduates, and others who were genuinely wanted to work - so to be treated like the way they are is frankly depressing.
Very few people want to do nothing. It’s depressing, demoralising, and makes you feel incredibly shitty about yourself as a person; but considering the way the system is run, the way the media portray the job market, the jobs made available to you through government means, it’s no wonder people begin to give up hope.

When Benefits Street was filmed in 2012, fraudulent benefit claims accounted for less than 1% of total state benefit paid out, and that while benefit fraud cost the state £1.23bn, the amount of benefit underpaid, due to applicants not having the support to properly complete forms or official error, came to £1.3bn. Benefit fraud accounted for a grand total of 8% of all public sector fraud – the second least draining on the economy under identity fraud. Compare that to the £14bn drain on the state that tax fraud and legal loopholes for the rich and elite classes caused (accounting for 69% of public sector fraud) – you have to wonder, when will we get a show demonising bankers, elites and CEOs using offshore accounts to fund drug binges, obscenely expensive drinks, and unapologetically abusing their places of power.

No sector has been harder hit by the Canada Revenue Agency crackdown on charitable status than environmental groups. Eight influential environmental organizations […] are undergoing audits so intense some have had to sideline their environmental work to deal with the mountains of paperwork demanded by the government. All are victims of a government that has accused them of having a “radical agenda” and “laundering offshore funds.” In attempting to silence these and other environmental groups, Stephen Harper hopes to take the eyes of the world off his appalling record of environmental destruction.
—  Maude Barlow - Broken Covenant
With family wealth like David Cameron's, who needs offshore funds anyway?

The Panama Papers have turned the spotlight on the family wealth of the Prime Minister who wants us to call him Dave        


In 1884 on a slight promontory overlooking a beautiful stretch of the River Deveron, Alexander Geddes, the laird of Blairmore, built for himself a large and beautiful mansion house.

His Aberdeenshire fastness had all the wonders of the modern world: electric lights, 150 of them, not just for the big house but for the stables and coachman’s accommodation too, all powered by water taken from the Deveron in an aqueduct about 1,200 yards above Blairmore house. 

Small wonder then that pride in Blairmore passed through the generations, to the laird’s daughter Rachel who in 1905 married one Ewen Allan Cameron, in what the Aberdeen People’s Journal called “a fashionable wedding” attended by “a number of the tenantry".

The tenantry presented the happy couple with “a very handsome antique James II silver bowl”, and were rewarded with permission to enter the big house, for “an opportunity of viewing the presents, which were laid out in the billiard room".

Ewen Cameron, who became a senior partner in the stockbrokers Panmure Gordon, and his wife seem to have passed the affection for Blairmore onto their son, who became a senior partner in the stockbrokers Panmure Gordon, and who in turn passed it on to his son, who became a senior partner in the stockbrokers Panmure Gordon.

How entirely natural then, that in 1982, when the last son in this sequence helped set up an offshore fund in the Bahamas, he should name it Blairmore Holdings Inc.  After all, what could be embarrassing about that?  It wasn’t exactly likely that his son would grow up to be Prime Minister, with slogans like “We’re all in this together”, was it?……

Read on:-